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Old 01-12-2013, 05:26 PM   #1
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Default 13 gallons stuck

My brother-in-law and I just tried our first batch with a 13 gallon carboy and it is stuck, probably.

18 pounds of honey, 2 gallons of cider, some Irish moss and three tablespoons of yeast nutrient started out.
It took us almost 24 hours from when we filled the carboy to when the temp dropped to where we could pitch the yeast(champagne). Not as we planned, but we used our experience from 5 gallon carboys to gauge the rate. This one has thicker glass and lower proportion of surface:volume. Over this period aeration may have been reduced. We were not able to mix the full carboy very well.

A day and a half to get going good then took off. Ran hard for four days at over 60 bubbles per minute and crashed overnight. Watched it for several times around 2-3 minutes with no bubbles. It is in our "brew closet" which is somewhat sealed and it did continue to smell as though some fermentation was taking place, but nothing visible. We agreed it wasn't possible for fermentation to have concluded in 4 days.
We read up in our new mead book and decided for that large of a batch we need more nitrogen/nutrient. Popped the cap and put in 8 tablespoons, bringing it close to 1/gallon as indicated in the book and the nutrient directions. Also poured in some well aerated water. The water was probably a mistake as the yeast took off at first. We were concerned it was not aerated properly to begin with and were intending to increase volume. Waited.... Waited... Nothing. That was 4 days ago.

Probably have bacteria and distressed yeast are wreaking havic on our first big brew. We are considering transfering it to reduce sediment and re-pitch yeast after transfer.


Any thoughts?


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Old 01-12-2013, 06:36 PM   #2
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All right well a few? . One what was your starting gravity, two check the ph level. And post results. If you do not have a start gravity then let us know what it is now


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Old 01-12-2013, 09:55 PM   #3
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Have you tried increasing the temperature?
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Old 01-12-2013, 11:18 PM   #4
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With only 18 lbs of honey per 13 gallons your OG was probably low, somewhere around 1.050. I just started a 6 gallon batch of Blueberry melomel and it dropped 50 points in 5 days so I don't see why your batch couldn't be finished. You'd better pull a sample and test it's SG. If it's at 1.000 it's done and you're sitting at around 6.5% ABV. Personally I'd shoot for something closer to 14% at least.
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Old 01-12-2013, 11:24 PM   #5
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Yea with a gravity as low as you started it. I could see a big batch finish quickly. So take a new gravity reading I bet it is lower than 1.01 and you are just fine. If so then leave it be. Rack it when it starts to clear and go from there.
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:46 AM   #6
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My BIL, who has a 6 month baby, hasn't been available so I am on my own. No measurement taken as I have no idea how to do it and with all the things I added who knows what it will be. I just dumped half a pound of bottling sugar in and we will see what that does.
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:58 PM   #7
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What brand of nutrient are you using? I believe the common stock at LHBS is dosed using teaspoon/gallon, so 11 tablespoons of nutrient made me shudder. Though I know there are other types, though they are typically weight based.

Did you use three 5-gram packets of yeast?
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:09 PM   #8
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Yes what was the original volume? was it 13g of must? or was it closer to 8 (given that you said 1/gal when you added 8spoons of neutrient). With the OV, we can kinda figure the OG. Also have you tasted it?

Given the cider (assumed 42 points) and honey (at 38 points) I have a total of 768 sugar points. For 13 gallons total, I get an og about 59. If it was closer to 8 gallons, I get an og of about 96.

You also mention pouring in well aerated water, how much was that? If you can't take a hydro sample. 1. get a hydrometer and suggest a wine theif. 2. after you get your hydrometer sample taste it for flavor. The alcohol, even at the 6.5% suggested by Illuveator will be tasteable.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:51 PM   #9
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Sorry. 8 Teaspoons. A pint of aerated water.
Added some bottling sugar yesterday and it resulted in noticeable firmentation. At the least I blew out the oxygen.

Will give it a taste later, after I build up some courage.
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:40 PM   #10
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I don't think you are really stuck so much as your aggresive yeast is eating you out of house and honey......sounds like you could be overthinking the situation..... no need to panic, looking at the info you provided, 18 pounds of honey, 2 gallons of cider, 1/2 pound of bottling sugar (assuming dextrose) in 13 gallons total volume, youre looking a total potential gravity of around 1.06ish...now add that you pitched champagne yeast, aggressive, fast, hot , hungry yeast possible of higher abv finishes and could probably handle an OG of 1.15ish....It is very plausible that it initially burned throiugh the honey and cider in 4 days, probably chewed through that bottling sugar pretty quick too

you have options...

leave it alone and have yourself a fine table mead with an abv around 8%

or you can step in some more honey, a couple pounds every couple of days, your yeast can probably handle another 10 pounds and then let it age out for quite awhile and end up with a more potent 17%-18% beverage


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